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Public Sector: Contracts

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a Minister or official in his Department has responsibility for promoting Article 19 of the European Union Procurement Directive in respect of the awarding of public sector contracts to work places in which more than 50 per cent. of employees are disabled. (317586)

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has responsibility for public procurement law and policy in the UK.

Government are fully committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are given the opportunity to enter the labour market, as well as ensuring that there is a level playing field for all companies, including supported businesses, seeking to do business with the public sector.

Article 19 of the EU procurement directive has a role to play in facilitating public sector contracting opportunities for supported businesses. Last year, the OGC published practical guidance for public procurers on the provision contained within Article 19, including how to reserve contracts for supported factories and businesses while still ensuring that value for money is achieved.

Buying Solutions, OGC's executive agency and national procurement partner for UK public services, has made use of the Article 19 provision to set up a pan Government collaborative framework agreement with supported businesses.

Central Departments, including HM Treasury, each have supported businesses champions at official level. Their role will include raising awareness of the Article 19 provision within their Departments.

OGC is working with DWP and key stakeholders to raise awareness of the Article 19 provision and to encourage Departments to use it where appropriate.